Establishing Mentoring Pipeline of Women through Education and Research in STEM

EMPOWERS is an organization to engage in and create programs in education, research, and community activities to support and enrich student participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines in the state of West Virginia, with a primary focus on K -12 female students.

Mini-Grant Deadline February 15, 2021

Inaugural EMPOWERS Annual Event

 On May 5th 2019, EMPOWERS celebrated its Inaugural Annual Event in Charleston West Virginia. During this celebration EMPOWERS teamed up with NCWIT and NASA WV Consortium to honor outstanding K12 students and teachers in the Mountain State. EMPOWERS awarded scholarships to five K12 female students and NCWIT awarded eight K12 female students for their participation in the organization’s Aspirations in Computing program. NASA WV Consortium also provided scholarships to three undergraduate students in STEM fields. The speakers of this ceremony included Dr. Afrin Naz, Chair of EMPOWERS; Eva Bradshaw, NCWIT Regional Affiliate Manager; Jan Barth, Assistant State Superintendent in the West Virginia Department of Education Division of Teaching and Learning; Anne Barth, Executive Director of TechConnect West Virginia, Michelle Foster, President and CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation; and Gayle Manchin, educator and former first lady of West Virginia.

Mini-Grant Opportunity

Thank you all for your applications to the mini-grant! The grantees have now been chosen.

The grantees:

Shay Willard, Lynette Farr, Ashley Chouinard, Tracey Thompson from Oak Hill middle and high schools for the Vex Robotics teams to purchase robots/fields to be used by both schools.

Adam Miller from Independence Middle School for 3D printer to be used with STEM classes and after school program

Matthew Benefield from Independence Middle School for laptops to be used in his classes in which he is teaching curriculum

Jo Frost from Woodrow Wilson High School for her middle school Robotics team to travel to Nationals.

Johna Jackson from parent volunteer for Monroebotics 4H club for First Lego League clubs in which the HS club made nationals partial support to get to nationals

Chelsea Cooper from Marshall University, advisor for new club for Women in Cybersecurity to attend national conference to bring ideas back for the club

Shaina Benefield from Independence Middle School for building an indoor greenhouse, including having students engineer the growing tables and tie it all into terraforming planets

Josh Reeve from Park Middle School for supplies for a variety of different hands-on science experiments for after school STEM program

Annette Kirk from Stonewall Jackson Middle for a 3D printer so that students can print their designs and do iterative design work

Rebecca Chapman from Beckley Middle School to purchase a science pack from for her classes and after school clubs

Esther Richardson from Raleigh County Schools for supplies for students to be able to conduct hands-on weather experiments


Recognizing the Wise, Wonderful Women of West Virginia who guide us to the way leading to success. Read more here.


In the “Ambassadress program,” female university students serve as the ambassadresses of high school female students. The “Ambassadress program” is sponsored by NASA WV Consortium and American Association of University Women (AAUW).


Girls Interested in Rapidly Learning Software (GIRLS) is a workshop for middle school girls to learn the basics of programming and get hands-on in different programming languages. The “GIRLS” program is sponsored by National Center for Women & Technology (NCWIT).

Rocket Girls

Girls at WVSU funded by NASA WV Space Grant Consortium is a summer camp that aims to promote interest in STEM through hands-on, stimulating and age appropriate activities from a curriculum designed by MIT Edgerton Center.